Ghost old style MFM interface hard drive to IDE hard drive
Posted on 2006-07-12
I have a client with an ancient PC running a court reporting verticle application on a MFM hard drive interface under MS-DOS 5.00 The application vendor has long since gone out of business and is not available for support. It is my understanding that the software is first installed on the hard drive via an installation routine. Then the support staff would provide some numbers to type in to a setup routine that stores data on certain cylinders or sectors that the application searches upon startup to prevent the user from pirating the application onto another system. The software is from Stenocat Corporation.
Changing over to another application is prohibitively expensive (approx $20K) and the learning curve too high so we're stuck with the old software.
The system currently is using a Seagate 80MB ST-4096 MFM interface hard drive. I was attempting to Ghost the hard drive over to an IDE hard drive to migrate this client onto a new Windows XP Home PC. I was going to use Microsoft Virtual PC to get the software to run under MS-DOS on the new workstation. Sounds simple but I am having a heck of a time getting the old MFM hard drive to run on a new workstation to start the process.
The old system has an Everex 16 bit MFM hard drive / floppy drive controller card in an ISA slot. I tried installing the controller card into a more recent workstation which had both ISA and PCI slots but the system will not boot with the card installed. I even tried disabling the on board floppy diskette option under the BIOS believing there to be a conflict. But no good.
I finally located an 8 bit MFM hard drive interface card with no floppy diskette option on Ebay but that doesn't work either. Card is not recognized by system. I tried this card in an effort to eliminate the conflict issue with the floppy circuitry.
I was able to perform a DOS based backup to floppy diskette on the old system. It took 27 floppies.
I then formatted an 18GB IDE hard drive on a new system as FAT32. System created a 2GB hard drive partition. I then was successful in running MS-DOS 6.22 setup process to create a bootable DOS 6.22 drive. I then performed a DOS restore from floppies which unfortunately overlayed MS-DOS 6.22 with MS-DOS 5.00 creating an error message upon boot about incorrect operating system. I was able to strip out the DOS 6.22 commands from DOS subdirectory. I then formatted a floppy diskette with the operating system option on the old PC and was able to run a sys command from that to make the new IDE hard drive completely MS-DOS 5.00 compatible to look like the old hard drive.
Believe it or not, the restoration even installed Windows 3.1 on the new hard drive from the backups and it actually ran perfectly. Wow, it's been a long time since I saw that piece of work!
But unfortunately with I tried to launch the Stenocat software it started, stumbled and came right back to the C: prompt. I assume it could not find the piracy data.
Can anyone tell me if there is a way to clone that old hard drive with the anti-piracy data intact onto a new hard drive and get this abortion to work?
Any help would be appreciated before I have to give up. I hate to admit defeat. It's just not in my nature.
Thanks for your help.